I was recently issued the challenge to prove that hot pink lipstick is meant for more than the 1980s. Okay, the challenge was issued by myself because there is nothing I love more than proving people wrong on subjective topics. But it was inspired in a conversation about how some things will just never look sophisticated.

Hourglass Femme Rouge Velvet in Ballet / Urban Decay Revolution in Turn On / NARS Semi Matte Schiap


To prove my point I chose three shades of hot pink because, while I could continue to argue that each of these are totally wearable, some employers place limitations on colorful makeup and the basis of this guide is wearing hot pink at work. Hot pink is a family of vibrant pinks and not just Highlighter-esque so hopefully you can find a new favorite amongst mine.

Hot Pink- wearing Hourglass Ballet
wearing Hourglass Femme Rouge Velvet in Ballet

First up we have Hourglass Ballet – a soft bright pink. It’s the newest to my collection and I was lemming over this shade since the beautiful Arianne got one step closer to becoming a ballerina. Rich, creamy, and the lightest of the three, it is also bright. But, thanks to my plum cardigan and bright peachy blush, it’s not in-your-face.

wearing NARS Schiap
wearing NARS Semi Matte in Schiap

Because no discussion of hot pink would be complete without referencing the wonder that is NARS Schiap, I’ve taken the brightest of the bright and toned it down. (See how the blush works to brighten the face while also toning down the vivid lip color?) Tip number two: eyebrows. Fill. them. in. You’re never going to pull off that bold lip without proper full eyebrows. Don’t go Sharpie on me, but shade them in and keep them neat.

wearing Urban Decay Revolution in Turn On
wearing Urban Decay Revolution in Turn On

Next, think finish. Creams are the easiest to wear of all colors. Mattes are modern, but just like high shine, they draw more attention. So for the more conservative work place stick with a cream finish (bonus points for being the easiest to apply) like Urban Decay Revolution in Turn On.

The last thing to keep in mind is eye makeup. This shade of lip color requires a brighter blush or you risk looking washed out and, well, ’80s. BUT. To get away with fun-loving lips around the office, don’t add too much color to the eyes. It makes your risky choice more obvious to HR. Keep the eyes subtle with neutral choices and satin finishes, be sure to tightline the upper lashes, and choose a lengthening mascara. It’s all about balance!

As far as the outfit, I like pairing my lip color with delicate jewelry, a jewel-tone top or lightly colorful patterned blouse, tan pants, and hot pink pumps. Because I can. But seriously, save the black, white, and gray (I can hear my closet crying…) for after work when you really want that pink to pop!


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